A 23-year-old student, who does not want his name published, recollected “the horror of that night” when he and several others like him were stopped in Abu Dhabi from boarding a flight to San Francisco on December 21.
He was sent back to Hyderabad when he should have been on the US flight. “I took an Etihad flight and my immigration check was in Abu Dhabi. US officials first checked my documents which were clear but then asked us to wait for another round of scrutiny. And there in a room, I sat with some more students for 16 hours without food or water. The officials did not even permit us to go out for a snack,” he said.
“No one was there to listen to us. Finally the officials told us that our visa is cancelled. They didn’t give a reason. We could not argue but gathered from them that the universities we applied for are not genuine,” said the student who applied for an MS course at Northwestern Polytechnic University, California.
His woes did not end there. On his return to the Hyderabad airport, he had to wait in the terminal for more than six hours for clearance. His worried parents waited outside all along. He later tried contacting the university via email but has yet to receive a reply. “I am sad but firm that I would go to the US for my studies,” he said.
Several students have deferred their travel plans in wake of the controversy. “I had a ticket on Etihad for December 27 which I cancelled. Now I have decided to postpone my plans till everything becomes clear,” said Mohammed Mazhar, who applied for an MBA in the US.